Clemens Schmid, at the wheel of the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, has claimed pole position for the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa, the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series and Intercontinental GT Challenge. The Austrian beat his Mercedes-AMG colleague Felix Rosenqvist (#88 AMG-Team AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG) by a mere 0.009 of a second. Fastest time in the Pro-Am Cup went to another Mercedes-AMG, the #56 Black Falcon car driven by Dani Juncadella.
Sunny conditions greeted the 20 fastest drivers participating in the Superpole session of the 2016 edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa. With those 20 cars only separated by eight tenths of a second after Thursday’s qualifying session, the Superpole was expected to be an exciting affair.
By lapping in 2m18.223s Maro Engel in the #.00 AMG-Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG was the first to beat the quickest time of Thursday evening. But that was not enough to claim pole position, for Clemens Schmid beat last year’s pole time at the wheel of the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG thanks to his 2m18.025s. And, almost immediately after, Felix Rosenqvist – a Spa 24 rookie – lapped within 0.009s of the Austrian’s time.
Dani Juncadella (#56 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG), Maxi Götz (#86 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG) and Shane Van Gisbergen (#58 Garage 59 McLaren) were the last three drivers on track, trying to get the best starting position for the Belgian endurance classic.
The Spanish Black Falcon driver was about to set a quick lap time, but was then distracted by a car on its slowing down lap and Juncadella missed his braking point in the final chicane. Than bad luck struck the fastest man of Thursday’s qualifying, Shane Van Gisbergen. The McLaren driver slowed down on track, causing a yellow flag situation. That impacted most on Maxi Götz whose final flying lap – which would have been fast enough of pole – was subsequently cancelled as a result of the caution. He therefore completes a top-six solely comprising Mercedes-AMG machines.
With other cars under investigation, the official grid for the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa will be published on Saturday morning.
Clemens Schmid (#85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG): “I out-braked myself at the Bus Stop on lap one, which was a wake-up call for the second lap! I made a small mistake through Pouhon but was really happy with the rest. However, it is a long race; we still have 24 hours to go.